Sort and wash beans in colander under cold running water. Place beans in a large bowl with 9 cups of cold water and place in a refrigerator overnight.
Drain beans and set aside.
In a medium or large pot, heat oil and combine onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add 7 cups of water along with remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and add red beans. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on low heat, until beans are tender. Salt to taste if needed.
For flavor, add your favorite sausage 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
This is great with andouille or smoked sausages served over rice.